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“(…) the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20: 28 ESV

In April 2024 more than 20 refugees and new immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Syria, and other Middle Eastern and African nations were welcomed by Salam Christian Fellowship.

The presentation began with the question: “Who is Jesus Christ?”
Pastor Hesham Shehab, leading the presentation, delved into the Old Testament, specifically Isaiah’s 53rd prophecy. He explained how this prophecy foreshadowed Jesus’ crucifixion, and how the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 further solidified the authenticity of these Old Testament scriptures and their Messianic predictions.
Muslims believe that the Bible was corrupted by Jewish Rabbis and Christian Bishops and that Islam is the only true and final message from Allah.

A lively discussion ensued when Muslims present inquired about the concept of the Suffering Servant. Pastor Shehab addressed the Islamic viewpoint that denies Jesus’ crucifixion and atonement, and claims that a lookalike took His place on the cross.

They believe Christ was lifted up to heaven, where He awaits to come back at the End of Times, as a Muslim prophet, in order to kill the Antichrist and convert the world to Islam.

Pastor Shehab then offered evidence from the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, among others, to support the historicity of the crucifixion, and explained the importance of the cross in salvation. He then unpacked the significance of the resurrection in the Christian faith, highlighting the gift of eternal life found in the Risen Christ.

The discussion continued with the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus found in the Gospel of John. Pastor Shehab drew a connection between God’s revelation of Himself in the burning bush (Exodus 3:14) and these “I Am” pronouncements, underscoring Jesus’ divinity.

Wrapping up the event, Pastor Shehab concluded by explaining how the story of salvation unfolds throughout the Bible, from its beginnings in Genesis 3:15 to its culmination at the Cross of Calvary. He emphasized the Bible’s consistent message of salvation across both the Old and New Testaments.

Following the enlightening discussion, attendees enjoyed a delightful spread of Middle Eastern dishes, showcasing culinary traditions from Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Egypt. The event’s success owed a debt of gratitude to the dedicated team behind the scenes: 4 drivers, 3 cooks, and a translator, who all ensured a smooth and welcoming experience for the newcomers.

Notably, six of these volunteers were converts from Islam, demonstrating the welcoming and inclusive nature of the community. Their tireless efforts ensured a smooth and friendly experience for the newcomers.

Empowering Missionary Volunteer Events

This event would not have been possible without the generous support of the Northern Illinois District (NID). Their assistance has been instrumental in enabling Salam Christian Fellowship to host such events. We would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Rev. Kris Whitby for helping Salam secure access to the Mission Target Grant.

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